Top 10 Common Foot Problems
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Cindi Pearce
When your feet hurt it is pure agony because, of course, you have to walk on them.
Feet endure a significant amount of wear and tear over the years, particularly if you are one of those women who are committed to wearing high heels day in and day out. High heels are very hard on the feet. Wearing ill-fitting shoes is also damaging to your feet. And it may just be that you inherited some funky foot genes and are paying the price.
The top ten most common foot problems include:
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Bunions are the result of joint tissue located at the base of the big toe or bone becoming enlarged due to misalignment. When someone has a bunion, his big toe may actually turn toward the next or second toe and this causes the tissues to become tender and swollen. Bunions may be the result of genetics, trauma or a joint disease such as arthritis, bio-mechanical abnormalities, congenital deformities or neuromuscular disorders.
When you have a bunion you will need to wear shoes that are wider in the toe box to accommodate the swollen and misshapen toe, or opt for open shoes like flip-flops or sandals. Toes splints and bunion pads are also available and may give you some relief. Surgery is the last option.
9. Calluses and corns
Calluses or corns are the result of pressure or friction between the skin on the foot rubbing against something inside of a shoe or against the bony areas of the foot. They can also be hereditary. A corn or callus is the result of skin building up and creating points of pressure over bony prominences on the foot. Usually calluses appeared on the bottom of the foot while corns form between the toes and on top of the foot. Corns and calluses can be trimmed or the lesions can be padded so the individual doesn’t feel so much discomfort. Surgery can be performed.
Ill-fitting shoes, high heels, heredity and trauma to the foot can cause neuroma, which is a condition that is also referred to as a swollen nerve, pinched nerve or nerve tumor. It is actually a growth of nerve tissue that is benign and which is often located between the third and fourth toes. The outcome is burning, pain, numbness in the ball of the foot and between the toes and tingling. Cortisone injections can be given as can inflammatory medications, custom orthotics and padding and taping of the foot.
7. Plantar Fasciitis
Are your heels killing you? You may have plantar fasciitis which is inflammation of the connective tissue that runs from the ball of the foot to the heel. Heel spur syndrome indicates that there is an overgrowth of bone on the heel bone. Both of these conditions are painful and may be caused by bone deformity, trauma, obesity, muscle imbalance, too much stretching of this long band of tissue, and tightness of the muscles in the back of the leg. Medication can be prescribed for the pain and injections can be given. The foot should probably be taped and orthotic devices used.
6. Nail fungus
Are your toenails discolored and gross looking? You may have a nail fungus which must bet treated because it can become a chronic condition that can impact your psychological and physical well-being. When fungus is present in a nail the nail thickens and often detaches from the nail plate. This can cause pain. Fungus is treated using creams, nail lacquer or soaking the feet and nails may be needed. Oral medication may be required.
5. Athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot can drive you over the edge in no time flat. This is an itching skin infection that creates small blisters on your foot, redness and scaling. The fungus can spread to the toenails, which results in discolored, thick and painful nails. Athlete’s foot occurs when your feet are exposed to dark, humid and warm environments such as the insides of your shoes, or in locker rooms. Don’t wear wet socks or shoes. Allow your feet to air out every once in a while. Wash your feet and in between your toes daily. Wear cotton socks. You may need to take an oral or topical anti-fungal medicine.
4. Flat feet
Oh, woe, is the person who has flat feet, which means he has no arch or fallen arches. When a person has flat feet he experiences lower back pain, hip and knee pain as well as ankle pain. Conversely, those with highly arched feet encounter problems too. Flat feet are often the result of genetics, but trauma, arthritis and musculoskeletal problems can cause this to happen. Wear athletic shoes for flat feet that have good support.
3. Hammer toes
Hammer toes are another delightful problem that individuals can experience involving their toes. When a hammer toe is present this means the toe has a bony prominence on the top of the toe or in between the toe. This is considered a contraction deformity. Hammer toes can be hereditary or can be caused by wearing high heels, poor fitting shoes or trauma. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes that have a spacious toe box. Ice your toe and soak your feet in warm water. Toss in some Epsom or cell salts. That may help relieve your pain. Your podiatrist may give you an anti-inflammatory medication and/or inject collagen filler into your toe. Pad and tape your toe before putting on shoes.
Warts that appear on the foot are called plantar warts and can be painful. The warts are the outcome of a virus that has entered the skin via a small cut or abrasion. A wart is a viral infection and generally is brown or gray in color with a black pinpoint in the center. You can avoid getting plantar warts by keeping your shoes on. If you walk on a dirty surface where the virus is you can contract it. Treat the warts because if you don’t they can spread into clusters of many warts and get quite large. Your podiatrist can use laser cautery to remove the warts.
1. Ingrown toenails
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Ingrown toenails can hurt so badly that they bring a grown man to his knee. This is a very common condition and an all too familiar one to podiatrists. When a toenail becomes ingrown the side or corner of the nail grows into the flesh. This hurts like the devil. The toe will swells and become red. Ingrown toenails can be removed if necessary. There are over-the-counter treatments that may give you some temporary relief.
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